SCOTTISH peers attended the House of Lords around 50% of the time on average over the past six months, new figures have revealed.

And some attended the chamber on just a handful of occasions between September 2021 and February this year, the latest data available shows.

Overall, the records of around 40 peers with links to Scotland show the attendance rate averaged out at around 41.5 days out of a possible 82 days when the House was sitting, excluding six additional committee days not attended by all members.

Campaigners have criticised the “part-time peers” and renewed calls for reform of the Lords.

READ MORE: Baroness Davidson attended House of Lords just a quarter of the time

The analysis was carried out by The National in the wake of concerns raised over Boris Johnson reportedly planning a major list of peerages.

The Lord Speaker, John McFall, warned public confidence in the parliamentary system risk being undermined with a House of Lords that is too big, combined with “the fact that some recently appointed members have not been especially active.”

The peers who had the lowest attendance rates included Lord MacKenzie of Culkein and Lord Smith of Kelvin, who both attended for three days over the six months.

MacKenzie said his low attendance was due initially to Covid and then the serious illness of a close family member.

Former First Minister Jim Wallace – Lord Wallace of Tankerness – turned up on four days, as did businesswomen Baroness Michelle Mone (below).

The National: Baroness Mone speaking in the House of Lords, London..

The attendance of Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill, the widow of former Labour leader John Smith, was also in single figures at nine days.

Darren Hughes, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society said: “At more than 800 members, the unelected House of Lords is already the most bloated chamber in the world.

“However, as these figures show, many members are not even choosing to turn up and take part.

“For these part-time peers an appointment to the Lords is little more than a fancy title, treating it more like a pass to a private members club than a working legislative chamber.

The National:

“We need a democratically elected upper house where the public can vote out ineffective peers, instead of a chamber packed with political appointees handed lifetime appointments to make our laws by the prime minister of the day.

“It is no wonder the public have such little faith in the House of Lords.”

The peer who had the best attendance record was unsurprisingly the Lord Speaker – who chairs daily business in the chamber – attending for 83 days.

Others who turned up regularly included hereditary peer the Earl of Kinnoull, who attended for 75 days, and retired judge Lord Hope of Craighead and former Liberal Democrat MSP Lord Purvis of Tweed, who both recorded 74 days attendance.

A spokesperson for Baroness Mone said she is taking an “absence of leave”, adding: “She is a Baroness for life, all above board and no need for a drama.”

Lord Wallace told The National his attendance was low during this time as he was Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

He said: “Because of my heavy commitments as Moderator, I had made it clear that I would have to step back from Lords engagements during my (one year) term of office.

“Now that my term has finished, I would expect to attend more often.”

A spokesperson for the House of Lords confirmed peers only claim allowances for the days they attend.

READ MORE: Former lord speaker sends warning to Boris Johnson over peer appointments

She said there are no expectations for the numbers of days they turn up, apart from Government ministers who are expected to attend and answer questions when they arise.

She said: “Generally speaking, members attend the to the House where they feel they have something to contribute on a given subject or piece of legislation, however there are a contingent that attend and contribute on a very regular basis. Because peers don’t represent constituents, many of them have other jobs.”

The spokeswoman said low attendance was a question for the individual members, adding the House of Lords continues to be a “busy and effective chamber”.

She added: “To give you just one example from the past few months, the Lords raised concerns about the Schools Bill, which resulted in the Government agreeing to remove clauses from the bill including ones on the regulation and intervention in the work of academies.”